Filling only two CDs, the complete works for cello and piano are quintessential and vintage Beethoven. Timora Rosler and Klara Wurtz have played together for more than 15 years, having won several chamber music prizes. They performed the Beethoven cycle several times in concert over the years, and their interpretation has ripened to such an extent that the time came to record it. Every note is alive and vibrant, played with gusto and feeling, alternating melancholy and joy, sadness and sheer fun. Recorded January 19-23, 2013, at Sala congressi del Parco naturalistico di Onara in Padua, Italy.
Playing together for the first time for Hyperion, Hough and Isserlis are stunningly matched in this large-scale passionate romantic programme. The sonatas stand at the centre of the meaty repertoire established by Brahms—whose two cello sonatas Steven Isserlis has recorded for us in an award-winning disc accompanied by Peter Evans (CDA66159)—and characterised by grand sweeping gestures, lush melody, and heartfelt emotions that sear from pathos to frenzy. The Franck is, of course, an alternative version the composer wished for his violin sonata, a transition that many feel to be the work's happiest incarnation.
Jacqueline Mary du Pré, OBE (26 January 1945 – 19 October 1987) was a British cellist. She is particularly famous for performing the Elgar's Cello Concerto in E Minor, her interpretation of which has been described as "definitive" and "legendary". Her career was cut short by multiple sclerosis, which forced her to stop performing at the age of 28, and led to her premature death…
"The Accademia Bizantina under conductor and keyboardist Ottavio Dantone is one of a number of young Italian historical-instrument groups that have been revolutionizing the world of Baroque instrumental music performance. (…) The fugues are fast, intense, and dramatic, with wide dynamic range gaining momentum toward a climax. Perhaps the most satisfying of all are the cello sonatas under the care of Baroque cellist Mauro Valli, you get the feeling in the slow movements that you're hearing the Baroque cello, still an acquired taste for many listeners, take on its proper sound as its bendable tones connect with highly expressive lines. An excellent release…" ~AMG
In this new chamber recording, Steven Isserlis together with his regular collaborator, fortepianist Robert Levin, presents a magisterial and long-awaited compendium of Beethoven’s complete works for cello and piano, including Beethoven’s arrangement of his Op 17 Horn Sonata. The use of the fortepiano opens up a wealth of sonic possibilities for these works.
Many listeners who know Beethoven's symphonies, concertos, piano sonatas, or quartets are unfamiliar with his five sonatas for cello and piano. But this genre finds Beethoven at the top of his form. Even though Beethoven composed only five of these works, he wrote them during each of his major styles, from the early works of opus 5, to the great middle-period work, opus 69, and to the final two sonatas of opus 102, similar in style to the late piano sonatas and quartets. Only the symphonies, string quartets, piano sonatas, and the five cello sonatas show Beethoven in all three of his "manners" of composition. The cello sonatas show Beethoven at his best in each period.
Among his extensive chamber music output, Bohuslav Martinu left behind three magnificent cello sonatas, as well as a host of smaller works for cello and piano. Though not as extensively recorded as other standard repertoire works, there are some exemplary recordings of Martinu's sonatas, most notably the one made by Janos Starker and Rudolf Firkusný (who premiered the First Sonata with Fournier).
Most listeners are likely familiar with the significant contributions to the cello sonata repertoire made by Russian giants Sergey Rachmaninov and Dmitry Shostakovich. Far less well-known, however, is the Cello Sonata of Alexander Borodin. As his primary occupation was that of a scientist and not a musician, many of his works went uncompleted at his death; the Cello Sonata was no exception. For this recording by cellist Alexander Chaushian and pianist Yevgeny Sudbin, a 1982 completion by Mikhail Goldstein is used.